|Dangerous Curves Ahead: Catwoman Makes Her Mark|
|Written by Stephanie Finnegan|
|Friday, 11 April 2014 14:37|
The songwriter Jim Steinman—best known for putting the words right into singer Meat Loaf’s mouth—once observed that “good girls go to Heaven, but bad girls go everywhere else!”
COSMO magazine founder Helen Gurley Brown said something very similar, so if a rock-n-roll titan and a publishing maven agree—well, it’s just gotta be true!
Yes, she’s fictional, but almost all go-getters have invented themselves either autobiographically or physically. (Is there anyone in the public spotlight these days who hasn’t fibbed about an accomplishment while injecting a few bouts of Botox? I think not.)
The character of Catwoman is very cool to me for several reasons. First off, she adores felines. I have a weakness for those four-legged critters as well. She’s been played by some of the most alluring actresses in TV and filmdom, and she always comes across as intelligent and cunning, wily and downright stunning.
Add to her résumé the fact that she and Batman are locked in some kind of bizarre tango of attraction and repulsion, and you have a mixture that can stand the test of time. Interestingly, Batman and his ward, Robin, were termed the “Dynamic Duo,” but really it’s more fitting for the “Caped Crusader” and Catwoman.
Batman and Catwoman were always a heartbeat away from either killing or kissing each other. It was like a living precursor to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” song.
Mattel has unleashed Catwoman in various guises, and now Robert Tonner is debuting her as well with his “Catwoman 1966” treatment. She’s suitably lanky and lithe, sexy and serene. Plus, she knows how to rock a one-piece catsuit.
Looking at the doll, I was struck by two things: one was how much the face of Catwoman looks like Kate Middleton. Am I just crazy (don’t answer) or is there a marked resemblance between the costumed villain and the crowned princess of England? They both have a thing for jewels, but isn’t there a certain undeniable angularity to the face and an aura around the eyes? I definitely see a Kate/Catwoman vibe. (Plus, Kate is sometimes called “Kat”! Kat, people! Kat!)
The other thing that hit me was that my father had a “brush with greatness” with one of the Catwomen. Yes, my dad actually got to talk to and hang out with Eartha Kitt, who played Batman’s foe from 1967 to 1968. Following in the high-booted footsteps of Julie Newmar, Eartha made history by being an African-American woman cast in the role of provocative archenemy and sultry Holy Grail. Batman could dream about having her, but it was not meant to be.
My dad owned a store in Park Slope and one of his customers was a piano player named Kenny, who worked in nightclubs and cabarets in New York City. One of Kenny’s gigs was as a musical accompanist for Ms. Kitt, who was a “chanteuse” in addition to being an actress. (And isn’t it just rich that a woman named Kitt would play a Catwoman! Kitt? Kitten? Cat? Amazing!)
One rainy day in Brooklyn, Kenny and Eartha stopped into my father’s shop to buy some items for lunch. The skies opened up mercilessly and so they ended up whiling away a good 20 minutes in the store. My father got to talk to Ms. Kitt about a huge array of subjects: the Vietnam War, TV roles vs. nightclub performing, why people are attracted to golf (both my father and Ms. Kitt were skeptical about the “sport”), and Johnny Mathis. He was one of my parents’ favorite performers and a personal friend of Eartha’s. She spoke about him at great length, and my dad was in heaven.
Back then, there were no cell phones and no easy-to-carry smartphone/cameras. After almost a half hour of chatting, my father didn’t want to bother her for an autograph, so he just bid her “adieu.”
About a week later, Kenny came into the store with an autographed headshot of Eartha Kitt decked out in the Catwoman suit. The shot hung on his store’s wall for decades. As he would often say, “She seems like an oddball, but she is all right.”
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